Press Release | Sept. 18, 2008

Armed Services YMCA and Department of Defense Partner to Provide Support to Military Families

The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) today announced a new $31-million initiative with the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide eligible military families and active duty personnel with access to youth development, family strengthening, and health and well-being programs through memberships at community YMCAs nationwide. Membership fees will be underwritten by the DoD and administered through Military OneSource. YMCA of the USA, the national resource office for America’s 2,686 YMCAs, will help launch the initiative at Ys across the country.

The ASYMCA-DoD Outreach Initiative responds to a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, which requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan to support military family readiness and to ensure that military family readiness programs and activities are available to all military families, including those of the National Guard and Military Reservists.

“YMCA of the USA is proud to partner with ASYMCA and DoD to ensure that our nation’s military and their families have access to some of the best youth development, family strengthening, and health and well-being programs available at YMCAs in communities across this country,” said Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of the YMCA of the USA. “Our YMCAs have the unique capability to provide families of deployed military service members with support that is generally only available to families who live near a military base.”

The program is expected to serve more than 27,000 military families and active duty members.

“The YMCA and ASYMCA have a history of commitment to developing innovative programs that help military families lead healthy lives, improve personal and family relationships, become better leaders, strengthen positive values, and develop specific skills, while at the same time building a sense of community,” said Frank Gallo, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret), national executive director for the ASYMCA. “Seldom has our support been as critical as it is today with active duty soldiers, National Guard, members of the reserve and their families under more strain than at nearly any time in our history.”

Eligible participants can sign up by identifying a participating local YMCA on www.ymca.net during the month of October, providing proof of eligibility by showing a military identification card and a copy of deployment orders, and completing an eligibility verification form. Eligibility forms can be found at www.militaryonesource.com.

Those eligible to participate in the new initiative include:
• All interested families of joint deployed National Guard and Reserves;
• Active Duty families assigned to newly established Joint Bases created by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process;
• Active Duty Independent Duty station personnel (single or family members); and
• Relocated spouses and family members of deployed Active Duty personnel.

“There is no question — deployed soldiers who know their families are well taken care of during deployment are better equipped to deal with its pressures,” added Gallo. “This partnership between the DoD, YMCA of the USA and ASYMCA seeks to provide this support.”

More information about the ASYMCA-DoD Outreach Initiative can be found by visiting www.www.asymca.org. For information about participating YMCAs, please visit www.ymca.net after Oct. 1.

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About the ASYMCA
The ASYMCA operates more than 150 program centers around the globe. The ASYMCA has consistently provided educational, recreational, social and spiritual programs to military members and their families since the Civil War. It earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for the second consecutive year, and an A- rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy. The ASYMCA, an affiliate of the YMCA of the USA, is headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

About YMCA of the USA
YMCA of the USA is the national resource office for the nation’s 2,686 YMCAs, which serve 21 million people each year, including nearly 10 million children under the age of 18. YMCAs respond to critical social needs by drawing on their collective strength as one of America’s largest not-for-profit community service organizations. Through a variety of programs and services focused on the holistic development of children and youth, family strengthening, and health and well-being for all, YMCAs unite men, women and children of all ages, faiths, backgrounds, abilities and income levels. From urban areas to small towns, YMCAs have proudly served America’s communities for nearly 160 years by building healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Visit/www.ymca.net to find your local YMCA.